One of the most common occurrences that leads to injury is losing your balance. When you start to lose balance, other muscles and ligaments quickly engage to try and regain your balance. Think of when you feel yourself starting to fall: your arms shoot out instantly, your entire body tenses up, and you start flailing around trying to keep from falling. When you do fall, your body is tight and you limbs are extended. All of this can lead to injury.
Balance is crucial for anyone in the backcountry. Traversing uneven, loose terrain requires a great deal of balance. A great way to prepare for this is to train for it.
The following exercises will not give you perfect balance. Instead, they will help you train your body for how to maintain balance when things get a little shaky. They will also strengthen your core and posterior chain which will help to prevent injury. Incorporate these exercises into your normal regimen and you will see your balance quickly improve.
While standing on a Bosu Ball, perform a normal body-weight squat. This will be rather difficult at first so go slow. Do 15-20 reps.
Start doing this exercise with no weight until you have the form down; then, slowly increase weight. Using the weight and your left leg as counter-balances, slowly lower the weight toward the ground while keeping you right leg as straight as possible. Do not lock your knee! Allow a slight bend in your right knee throughout the motion. Hold at the bottom and then raise up to the starting position. Focus on using your glutes and hamstring to stand back up. Perform 12-15 reps.
Start with your legs together. Step out to the side with your right leg. Lower your hips, keeping your chest out, shoulders back, and your eyes forward, until your right leg makes a 90 degree angle at the knee. Shift your weight so that your torso stays centered over you right leg; this will ensure that your right leg is holding the majority of your body weight). Then drive upward with your right leg, returning your right foot to the starting position. Repeat for the other side until you have completed 10-15 reps per leg.
Calf Walk (Not Pictured)
Either with body weight or with dumbbells in hand, perform a standing calf raise and hold at the top of the motion. Then, begin slowly walking on the balls of your feet, never letting your heel touch the ground. Perform 15-30 repetitions.
Pistol Squat (advanced)
This is an advanced move that will take some time to master. With your arms and your left leg extended, slowly lower your body while keeping your legs and arms extended so that your right leg is parallel with the ground. Hold at the bottom and then return to the starting position, pushing up through your hips. Do 10-12 reps per leg.